After 50 years, craft kits still a labor of love for TWIG volunteers

A special group of volunteers celebrated 50 years of dedicated service to Akron Children’s Hospital in June. Known as TWIG (Together With Important Goals), its members create and assemble craft kits for our patients who are hospitalized.

Currently there are 20 TWIG groups and 224 active members, ranging from homemakers and business owners to doctors and nurses. Although most groups are in Summit County, there’s a Mahoning Valley group in Canfield, another in Columbiana County, and one in Stark County.

Two original TWIG volunteers, Mary Clark and Ann Brown, are still active today.

Over the years, Clark has been instrumental in getting others involved, including her own daughter, Susan, who has participated in TWIGS since she was a young girl. Today Susan Clark Frantz, now a gynecologist, attends TWIG meetings with her mom and her own teenage daughter, Kelly. A typical meeting often includes multiple generations of women from within the same families – all united in their love of children and a desire to give back to the community.

“Children shouldn’t have to be sick, but when they are, it’s nice to be able to give them something to make their time in the hospital a little more tolerable,” said Clark, who considers the craft kits a form of love. The kits are delivered to hospitalized patients on a Craft Cart staffed by volunteers, who may also help the children assemble their crafts.

For Brown, becoming a TWIG volunteer coincided with also volunteering for the hospital’s annual Harness Race Rally fundraiser. Today at age 91, she’s still involved with both.

“Next to my kids, Children’s Hospital has been my baby,” Brown said.

If you’re interested in becoming a TWIG volunteer or starting a TWIG group in your community, call Volunteer Services at 330-543-8424.

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